A Brunswick indoor playground owner who drew both ire and support for a Facebook post pledging to ignore Gov. Janet Mills’ mask mandate will now follow the order.
On Friday morning, Heather Pelletier, owner of The Rumpus Room, wrote that she would “never require a guest to mask up” and that she would continue to allow people to book parties at The Rumpus Room.
“The isolation and lack of socialization of our children far outweighs ANY virus,” Pelletier wrote in the post. “My hopes and prayers are that no one will get sick while playing here, but it’s unrealistic because germs are everywhere.”
Pelletier’s post drew hundreds of comments from users across Maine and the United States. While several people called her decision irresponsible, others pledged their support — numerous parents even said Pelletier’s defiant stance had convinced them to bring their children to the business.
But after significant backlash — including several calls to the Brunswick police reporting the business — Pelletier told The Times Record that she was not an “anti-masker” and would comply with Mills’ mask mandate. She has also placed signs requesting that guests wear masks and maintain social distancing inside, according to photos she posted on social media on Saturday.
Pelletier’s post drew immediate hostility: in two follow-up posts on Friday, she said people had made “downright cruel” statements to her, including wishing death on her family in private messages.
“I would take COVID every day, all day, over being such a hateful person,” Pelletier wrote. “I hate that your words cut so deep. I should have laughed like my family and friends, whom I called bawling, did. But I can’t.”
Amid record COVID-19 numbers across Maine, Mills issued an executive order on Thursday requiring face coverings in all public settings. The order requires children ages 5 and older to wear coverings but only recommends that children ages 2 to 4 do so as well.